Proud parents may gush over their two year old’s baby talk, but if they are still using the same mispronunciations when they are four or five years old, something is probably off. It might be time to ask: does my child need speech therapy? The earlier your child is evaluated, the easier it will be to correct the speech-language problem.
How Speech And Language Disorders Are Evaluated And Diagnosed
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) will perform a series of tests to evaluate the following:
- Your child’s receptive language or what they understand
- Your child’s expressive language or what your child can say
- Their sound development or how clearly they speak
- Their oral-motor skills like how their mouth, tongue, and palate work together not only for speech but also for swallowing and eating
How Speech Therapy Helps
Speech involves proper pronunciation and articulation of words, voice, and fluency. Your child must possess all three to effectively communicate with others. There is no absolute timetable for how a child develops speech and language, but there are some guidelines that might help parents in making a decision to investigate a speech language assessment.
Let’s look at some signposts to consider speech therapy.
Number of words
If your child only uses 20 words or less by the time they are 18 months old and less than 50 by the time they reach age 2.
By the time children are 2, most understand more than 300 words. If your child doesn’t understand simple sentences like, “drink your juice,” it may be time to begin speech therapy.
Number of sounds
If your child only uses a few sounds to say all words.
In social situations
If your child does not talk much when around other people.
If your child cannot speak clearly by age 2 and is not able to combine different words together.
Combined Efforts Work Best
Your child’s language specialist will instruct you how to help at home and reinforce the skills they are learning during therapy.
At the same time, read to your children, sing together, and use everyday situations to name words and say them together.
Contact Meridian Pediatrics if you think your child needs speech therapy and would like to schedule an evaluation.